A Tragic Loss of a Student

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Today my blog takes a different turn because of some tragic news I heard today. I know I have talked about being a teacher before, but nothing prepares you for the loss of a student.

A tough looking kid with a light complexion and reddish hair came to my first period class last year. He was hard to figure out and I did my best to try to get to know him. I received a report on him saying he was recently released from a juvenile detention center, so I didn’t know quite what to expect. What I got was a kind, polite, well behaved, respectful, good natured young man who had gotten into the wrong crowd. All the girls fawned over how cute he was.

When him mom passed away he had her name tattooed down the inside of his arm. He spoke of his little girl who was one year old at the time and an obvious highlight of his life, despite having her so young.

The thing that got me most of all about this boy was how smart he was. When he came to school, he did his work and he did it well. He would have had all A’s if he came to school on a regular basis. Whenever he did come to school, I would tell him how glad I was to see him and how much I liked having him here. I said how I wished he’d come more often, especially since it was a condition of his parole.

His dad fought hard for him. He tried to get him to come to school. He tried to keep him away from kids who were a bad influence on him. His dad worked with the school to get him into a JobCorp program when he decided school wasn’t for him. He most recently came in to get paperwork to help him get his GED.

This 17 year old boy was the most recent victim of senseless violence. He was killed in a drive by shooting last night because someone thought that he did something to one of their friends. My students found out through Facebook and Twitter.

I wish he was still at my school, sitting in my classroom. I wish I could have helped him beat the streets. I’m sorry for his dad who tried so hard to save his son. I’m sorry for his daughter who will grow up without a father.

I hope he knows that people cared about him very much. I hope he is at peace now. He is free of his demons.

Photo credit: Mr Tickle – Wachoo Wachoo Tribe Congressman / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

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